The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 interconnected global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 to be achieved by 2030. They are a universal call to action for the 183 UN Member States to promote economic growth and social progress while protecting the environment. The SDGs cover various topics, including poverty, education, health, climate change, gender equality, and more.
Check out the UN's official SDG page for in-depth information on each goal.
1. No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
2. Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages.
4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
10. Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
13. Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
14. Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
15. Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
17. Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
1. Economic development: Investing in infrastructure, creating job opportunities, reducing poverty and inequality, and generating economic growth.
2. Social development: Improving access to health care and education, promoting gender equality, and reducing inequality.
3. Environmental protection: Protecting natural resources, improving air and water quality, reducing waste and pollution, and conserving biodiversity.
All 17 SDG goals are essential in creating a better world and sustainable future. However, the goals are somewhat ordered by their priority. Here's a more in-depth analysis of the first 5 goals.
Goal 1 aims to rid the world of extreme poverty by 2030. Extreme poverty is currently defined as living on less than $1.25 per day. Unfortunately, more than four years of progress have been reversed due to COVID-19 and the implications of the Ukraine War. Pre-pandemic estimations saw 581 million people living in extreme poverty; however, 2022 saw approximately 657-678 million people living in extreme poverty,
Goal 2 aims to rid the world of hunger by 2030. In 2020, 2.4 billion people lacked consistent access to sufficient food, with this number rising each year. Furthermore, 22.5% of children under 5 suffer from stunted growth due to a lack of nutrition.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Goal 3 has various aims, including the reduction of maternal mortality and infant deaths, the end of multiple diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and hepatitis, increase in treatment for substance abuse and mental health, halving the number of road-related deaths,
Goal 4 aims to improve the quality and access to education. Statistics show that over 263 million children and youth are out of school, with 61 million of these being of primary school age. Additionally, the gender gap in education persists, with girls still disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. The percentage of illiterate adults is also still an issue, with an estimated 781 million people being unable to read or write.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 is focused on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Around half of the world's female population is represented in the labour force, and women are paid, on average, 77% of men's wages. Additionally, women are more likely to work in the informal sector, with only 22% of managerial positions held by women. Violence against women remains high, with more than one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence.
The overarching theme of what we can do as individuals is a vote for the right political parties that aim to improve these areas., empower others to do the right thing, take action, and provide funding whenever and wherever possible. It is crucial to hold governments accountable for fulfilling the SDG.
SDG scores measure a country's progress in achieving all 17 SDG goals. Scores are calculated out of 100 in percentage form. Check out the complete list on the Sustainable Development Report Ranking Page. The following countries are in the top 10:
Some interesting countries to note:
11. United Kingdom: 80.55%
26. New Zealand: 78.30%.
38. Australia: 75.58%
41: United States: 74.55%
Ranked in the bottom three:
161. Chad: 41.29%
162: Central African Republic: 39.28%
163. South Sudan: 39.05%
Sustainable development is necessary to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To do this, we must protect the environment and reduce the negative impacts of human activities on the planet.
Sustainable development has a broad range of positive impacts on our society. It helps to create jobs and economic growth, improve public health and safety, reduce pollution and resource use, and promote social equity and stability. Sustainable development is also vital in addressing climate change and reducing the impacts of global warming. It is a crucial part of creating a more sustainable future for all.
Examples of sustainable projects mentioned previously include renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and waste management. Another example is native reforestation projects. The forests will provide a range of ecosystem services, such as carbon sequestration, habitat for wildlife, and wind and water protection, helping to achieve multiple SDG goals.
Businesses can support the UN SDG by implementing sustainable practices in their operations, such as reducing their carbon emissions, using renewable energy sources, creating a culture of sustainability in the workplace, and sourcing sustainable products. If they haven't already, they must eliminate any gender inequality and close the gender pay gap. They can also support the SDG by joining initiatives like the UN Global Compact and creating partnerships and collaborations that focus on achieving the SDG. Businesses should create sustainability reports outlining their progress in achieving the SDG. Air New Zealand demonstrates a great example of a sustainability report that should be a basic practice for all businesses. The report directly links their personal goals and actions to the SDG.
Lack of adequate financing: Achieving the SDGs will require significant investments, yet there is a substantial gap between the estimated costs and available funding.
Poor governance: Perhaps the biggest problem facing the achievement of SDG goals is the lack of political will to make meaningful and lasting change. Governments worldwide have committed to reducing their carbon footprints and addressing climate change but have yet to pass significant legislation to make these goals a reality. Without the political will to take action, sustainable development efforts will fail.
Inequality: Economic and social inequality affects everyone, but some people are more affected than others. This challenges achieving the SDGs as it will require addressing existing disparities.
Climate Change: Climate change is one of the biggest threats to achieving the SDGs. It will require urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Conflict: Conflict and violence are significant barriers to achieving the SDGs. In many countries, the armed conflict has made it difficult to provide basic services, protect human rights and promote economic development.
Data and Monitoring: The SDGs require detailed and accurate data to measure progress, but many countries lack the resources and capacity to collect the necessary data.
Coordination: The SDGs involve a wide range of actors and stakeholders, which requires effective coordination to ensure successful implementation.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a call to action for all countries, large and small, to make the world a better place. They provide a framework to guide nations in meeting the needs of their citizens while protecting the environment. Through the SDGs, countries have committed to ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all. The goals are ambitious, interconnected, and mutually reinforcing. Successful implementation of the SDGs will require a collaborative effort from all sectors of society, including governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals. The global community must continue to work together to ensure that the SDGs are achieved and that no one is left behind.
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